Interviews By Topic

Wade Davis has been called the Indiana Jones of anthropology. He's traveled deep into the Amazon rain forest to meet shamans; he's investigated Haitian zombies; he's climbed high into the Tibetan mountains to photograph snow leopards. He says indigenous people have a fundamentally different way of seeing the world than we do in modern society.More

Africa needs to reclaim its history and its technology, says Clapperton Mavhunga, a native of Zimbabwe who's a professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. He says the traditional hunt is a great example of how Africans have passed on generations of knowledge.More

You'd never think a book about chopping and burning wood would turn into a runaway bestseller, but Lars Mytting's "Norwegian Wood" is a publishing sensation in Scandinavia. Lars gathers the collected wisdom on everything from how to build a smokeless fire to the art of choosing a husband based on his wood pile.More

Traditional knowledge can surface in the most unlikely places. Take La Crosse, Wisconsin, where many Hmong people settled after the Vietnam War. Master blacksmith Tong Khai Vang and his apprentice and translator Kong Mong Yang show us the art of turning hot metal into Hmong knives.More

Botanist Robin Kimmerer describes her field experiments as like interviewing a plant. She believes nature is full of living beings - rocks and water as well as plants and animals. As both a Ph.D biologist and a member of the Potawatomi Naiton, she's trying to reconcile modern science with the wisdom of her Native elders.More

Composer Philip Glass says he was transported by "The Wayfinders" - Wade Davis' celebration of indigenous cultures.More

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s novel "The Underground Railroad" won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Steve Paulson spoke with him about this powerful, sweeping epic.More

Rapper Xuman is the host of Journal Rappe  – a weekly news program in Senegal that is rapped in Wolof, French, and English. It’s serious, hard-hitting news – rapped.More

Chris Emdin is the author of “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…And the Rest of Y’all Too” He’s a professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. He told Anne Strainchamps about the next frontier of hip hop: education.More

Octopus

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith says the octopus is "probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” It has no bones and most of its neurons are in its arms — not its brain. Can we ever fathom octopus consciousness?More

Gorilla

Elena Passarello created “Koko” from the one-thousand word vocabulary of a gorilla who uses sign language. Her book is "Animals Strike Curious Poses."More

Birdle

Helen Macdonald's book "H is for Hawk" turned her goshawk Mabel into one of the most memorable literary characters of recent years. Mabel is no longer with her, but Helen now has a new avian companion — an ornery and very smart parrot.More

Starling

Elena Passarello’s latest book, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” is a journey through stories of the wild ones: the mammoths, spiders, birds and primates that have left their marks on our society. To the Best of Our Knowledge host Anne Strainchamps talked with Passarello about the “animal gaze” and the legacy of Mozart’s starling, among other animal tales.More

The Kills

The author of "Borne" and the Southern Reach Trilogy recommends Richard House's novel about soldiers tasked with burning waste in the remote reaches of Iraqi desert.More

Brodeck's Report

The author of "Borne" and the Southern Reach Trilogy recommends Phillippe Claudel novel about a small town murder and the winding investigation into the culprit.More

Gorilla

What separates your mind from an animal's? It's a question we've all asked, but renowned primatologist Frans de Waal says there's no point trying to rank who's smarter or dumber in the animal world. In fact, he believes there's no clear dividing line between humans and the rest of the animal world.More

Badger

What's it like to be a badger? British naturalist Charles Foster wanted to know, so he dug a burrow and lived in the darkness, eating worms. Yup, it was kind of disgusting, but he says the experience brought him closer to the wildness within himself.More

Saola

Finding the horns of a saola — a large ox-like mammal on the Laos-Vietnam border — was one of the great biological discoveries of the...More

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